Re:Design Blog

The Lenoir-Rhyne University Web Redesign Project

Rethinking the University Campus Calendar

Morgan Parker, Visitor Writers Series, speaks at Lenoir-Rhyne University

A robust, publicly accessible campus calendar builds community around events while publicizing the hundreds of events that are scheduled on campus each academic year—lectures, presentations, performances, music, theater, films, art showings, athletic games, among many other event types.

Assessment of Current Campus Calendar

As detailed in our web redesign RFP, the current LR campus calendar does not meet the needs of the university.

Events are Hard to Find
If you have ever had an event appear on the LR campus calendar, you need to explain to people how to find and register for the event. For example, go to the university homepage, find the upcoming events section, click on the view full calendar link, navigate to the month when the event is scheduled, click on the event to view the event information and then click the register button.

Because the calendar is hard to find, many event organizers on campus don’t bother submitting events to the calendar. 

No Search and Bad SEO
The calendar isn’t searchable and events don’t appear in internal and external search engines. Our current calendar lacks basic search engine optimization (SEO).

Missing Individual Event Landing Pages
Events don’t appear as individual landing pages (they appear as pop-up windows). This prevents event organizers from sharing event links in print, email or promoting events on social media.

No Event Categories, Tags or Audiences
Similar events can’t be found by event type, category or audience. We can tag events on the backend to appear on specific webpages, but visitors can’t click a categories link and view similar events.

No Event Submission Form
LR students, faculty and staff can’t directly submit events to the calendar. All events must be emailed to and entered by Marketing and Communications staff.

What Makes a Great Campus Calendar?

A great campus calendar offers an exceptional user experience where events are easy to find, easy to engage with and share. A great calendar communicates an active and engaged campus community. The following list provides more details about our LR campus calendar needs.

Branded to LR
Calendar design matches with LR brand and follows LR branding guidelines (colors, typography, logo use and style). Events should look good and appear consistently from one event to the next.

Strong SEO
Event SEO is a top priority. All events should be easily findable by internal and external search engines.

Event Submission Form and Publishing Approval Workflow
Anyone with an LR campus network ID is able to submit a university event to the campus calendar (after properly reserving space for their event). All events submitted to the calendar go through a publishing approval workflow to ensure compliance with calendar policies and guidelines.

Event Categories, Event Tags and Audiences
Ability to group events by event category, e.g., lecture, performance, and by audience, e.g., students, faculty/staff, alumni, public, etc.

Event Search
Calendar offers a robust, easy to use event search.

Individual Event Landing Pages
Each event has its own short, unique URL so it can be easily shared via print, email or on social media.

Separate Calendars for Each Campus
Each LR campus has its own campus calendar so site visitors aren’t forced to look through events not offered on their specific campus. The new calendar should offer separate calendars for Hickory, Asheville, Columbia and LTSS.

Multi-Day Event Calendars
Offer the ability to group multiple events under separate, linkable calendars, e.g., Homecoming, Reunion, Family Weekend, Commencement, Visitor Writing Series, MLK Day Events, etc.

Public, Hidden and Private Calendars
Events can be displayed publicly, hidden and only accessible through a shared URL or posted privately (require authentication through a LR account).

Multi-day Events
Calendar can handle multiple-day events so they don’t overwhelm the calendar and inhibit calendar visitors from seeing single-day events.

Display Events from Other Calendars
Events from other calendars should also be displayed through the main university campus calendar. The new calendar should offer the ability to import events via RSS feeds to the campus calendar.

Location Directions
Calendar provides a Google map for each event location and driving directions.

Calendar Accounts
Calendar visitors can create a calendar account so they can follow events of interest and be notified of event changes.

Separate Pages for University Groups
Each group on campus that organizes events should have their own unique group page that provides information about the group and lists out all upcoming and past events offered by the group.

Separate Pages for Each Event Location
Each location (building or room) should offer its own marketing page that provides information about the space and links to all current and past events scheduled in the space.

Online RSVP, Registration or Tickets
Calendar allows linking to other websites for event registration or offers ability to register or buy tickets through the calendar system.

Email Marketing
Built-in email event marketing where calendar administrators can send a weekly email to campus groups and subscribers presenting a 30-day view of events approved to the calendar. Or offer calendar RSS feeds that allow for the use of a third-party email marketing service like Mailchimp.

Open API
An open API allows for events to be integrated within the new website’s content management system and through a separate intranet site.

Single Sign-On
LR faculty, staff and students should be able to easily login to the calendar with their campus network account (to submit events or create a calendar account for following events of interest).

Accessible to all Visitors
Calendar complies with federal website accessibility requirements and is accessible to all visitors—the visually and hearing impaired, those with mobility issues who don’t use a mouse, etc.

Calendar Policy and Guidelines
Every successful website implementation should have an approved policy and guidelines for its management and use. The calendar is no different. Here is an example calendar policy and guidelines.

Calendar Training
A calendar should not require training for event submitters. Anyone with an LR network ID should be able to login to the calendar and easily submit an event.

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